She wakes up at 5:15am for a sliver of solitude before her day starts. She goes to sleep at 10:30pm on a good night, but will undoubtedly wake up to someone crying during the nighttime hours, and will leave her bed to comfort them and pray with them. Brooke Bentzler went from ministry school student to mother of five practically overnight.
It’s 2011. Brooke is a freshman in college studying Education and Spanish. Her dream for a long time now has been to teach missionary kids in a Spanish-speaking country. Meanwhile in Mexico: The oldest of the five children that Brooke will later take care of is born.
Fast forward three years. It’s June of 2014, Brooke’s first time visiting Esperanza Viva (EV) in Puebla, Mexico. It’s a little past 8pm and she’s not even at the orphanage yet when she feels the Holy Spirit whisper “One day you’ll live here.” As she looks out the window, she can only make out the city lights from afar; everything’s dark, yet she feels an overwhelming peace.
Seven months later, another opportunity opens for her to visit EV with her church. She again visits in January of 2015, once again falling in love with the children and staff as she plays back the small voice of God’s calling on her life from her first visit. Not too many miles away, Mateo, the youngest of the five children she will care for, is born.
In between January and August, Brooke takes a leap of faith and decides to quit her daycare job of four years, leaving behind her family and everything she’s known to spend 18 weeks in the 23rd class of La Viña Ministry Institute.
Something inside Brooke stirs during those 18 weeks, and she decides to apply for the one-year internship following graduation from La Viña. God speaks many things over her life, one of which is the word “Lily.” She assumes it signifies the lovely flower. After a short trip back to visit her family, she arrives at Esperanza Viva in January 2016 and in a matter of days joins the team of supervisors in the baby and toddler dormitory becomes a “mother” of five toddlers, one of them named Lily.
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